Highlights from this SCCAOR Minute
Learn more about Legislative Day 2018
Learn more about the 50th Anniversary of the Fari Housing Act
Learn more about the SCCAOR Ombudsman Service
To see the new Class/Event Calendar, visit and scroll down the page


Christina Garavaglia-Branche Joins SCCAOR as Government Affairs Director

Christina Garavaglia-Branche

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) has announced the hiring of Christina Garavaglia-Branche as their Government Affairs Director. Christina will manage SCCAOR’s legislative and political affairs program in developing local, regional, state and federal public policy governing private property ownership and other related issues.

“I am excited to join SCCAOR and work on behalf of its members to meet their political needs as real estate professionals,” said Garavaglia-Branche. “I look forward to using my experience in politics and housing policy to facilitate lasting relationships and strengthen SCCAOR’s voice and influence in the community.”

Garavaglia-Branche’s local political experience will be a huge benefit for SCCAOR’s goal of promoting and protecting private property rights. Christina was Dev Davis’ Campaign Manager during her successful run for the District 6 City Council in 2016. Christina then worked as a Policy Liaison for Councilmember Davis. Prior experience includes working as legislative staff at the California State Assembly where Christina focused on statewide Housing and Economic Development Policy.

SCCAOR CEO Neil Collins is also pleased with the Association’s newest addition. He said of Garavaglia-Branche’s hiring, “She brings a wealth of political knowledge to the table. There is no bigger issue than the lack of housing in Santa Clara County so I knew we needed to hire a professional with real housing policy experience. It’s great to have someone like Christina fighting for the REALTOR® Party.”

One of her first tasks as Government Affairs Director will be to lead a group of SCCAOR Members to Sacramento for California Association of REALTORS® Legislative Day. Over 2,000 California REALTORS® will come together for the opportunity to meet and discuss real estate issues directly with their state legislators and staff.


George and Grace

A graduate of San Jose State University (Go Spartans!), Christina enjoys calligraphy, horseback riding, and photography. She lives with her husband Matt and their two dogs, George and Grace in South San Jose.


For more information about SCCAOR Government Affairs, visit our website.


Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Fair Housing Act

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) will join REALTORS® across the country to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, one of our country’s most significant laws guiding the real estate industry today.

“As REALTORS®, we stand at the forefront of advancing best practices of fair housing while committing to the highest standards of fair housing issues,” said SCCAOR President Kevin Cole. “Community by community, Fair Housing makes us stronger as we embrace diversity within all of our neighborhoods,” he said.

All year long, members of SCCAOR will lead efforts to raise awareness of fair housing issues by reaffirming their commitment to uphold fair housing laws and offering equal professional service to all in their search for real property.

“The passage of the Fair Housing act represents a huge step toward ensuring that all Americans have a chance to live where they choose, but there’s still much for REALTORS® and others in the real estate community to do,” said SCCAOR CEO Neil Collins.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law on April 11, 1968, noting that the right to fair housing “is now a part of the American way of life.” The legislation now prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, and national origin.

Click here to learn more about the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. You can also participate in NAR’s commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act by sharing your story.

Meet Samantha Gutierrez: SCCAOR’s new Membership Coordinator

Samantha Gutierrez has joined SCCAOR as our new Membership Coordinator. She will work with our membership team to assist our members with questions or issues they may have with their Association membership.

“I am so excited to be the newest team member of SCCAOR,” said Gutierrez. “I hope my years of experience in customer service and event management will bring in a positive and fun energy for our members.”

In her role, Samantha will work with new REALTORS® and guide them through all the benefits and services that come with a SCCAOR Membership. Click here to view the full list of SCCAOR Membership benefits.

“We are pleased to bring Samantha on board,” said Tracey Lee, Membership Services Manager. “She has already proven to be a great addition and I am confident that she will strengthen our Association and bring great value to our members.”

In her free time, Samantha enjoys practicing the art of Improv comedy. “I try to take the positive lessons that Improv gives you and bring it into my professional and personal life,” she said. She also enjoys watching the San Jose Sharks and enjoying the Bay Area music scene.

You can reach our Membership Services team by phone (408-445-8500), email (, and also via live chat on our website.


Year-End Awards Honor SCCAOR’s Best of the Best

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) awarded four prestigious awards on January 26th during its Installation Ceremony at the Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose. The highest honor of the night, REALTOR® of the Year, was awarded to Anne Hansen of Realty ONE Group (video). The REALTOR® of the Year Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate the principles of good real estate practice, promote home ownership, and provide distinguished service to all SCCAOR Members.

Anne Hansen: REALTOR® of the Year

“I was truly honored just to be considered as one of the eight nominees,” said Hansen. “It was a very humbling experience to be chosen by my peers as the recipient of this distinguished award.”

Hansen has been a SCCAOR Member for 27 years and served on its Board Of Directors for 5 years. She is politically involved at the local and state level, serving as a Director for the California Association of REALTORS® for over 4 years.

Sandy Jamison, who won the REALTOR® of the Year award in 2016, said that Anne has a passion for being there for the good of the whole industry. “Anne is naturally sincere and caring,” she said. “One great example of this is that she recently opened her Pacific Grove home to an elderly couple after they lost their home in the Sonoma fires.”

Rob Bates: Affiliate of the Year

Another award given out at the event was Affiliate of the Year, awarded to Rob Bates of Elite Services 4 Real Estate (video). Rob has been a SCCAOR Member since 2002, has spent 3 years on the Board for the Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation, currently serves on the SCCAOR Board of Directors, and is currently the Affiliate Committee Chair.

“I am so elated to be the Affiliate of the Year,” said Bates. “It is an honor to be working with such an amazing association. The leadership, committees, educational services, events and most importantly the impact of giving back to our communities – it’s priceless!”

James Dill: Volunteer of the Year

The award for 2017 Volunteer of the Year went to James Dill of Coldwell Banker (video). James has been with SCCAOR since 2004 and he has been a key member of the SCCAOR Professional Standards Committee since 2007. In addition to being on the SCCAOR Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011, he has been a member of the Education Committee, the Foundation Committee, and a C.A.R. Director.

When asked about his achievements and what volunteering means to him, James quoted the author Jim Rohn and said: “The major reason for [volunteering] is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.”

Vince Rocha: President’s Choice

The fourth award of the night, The President’s Choice Award, was given to Vince Rocha by 2017 SCCAOR President Rick Smith (video). Rocha has been SCCAOR’s Government Affairs Director for the past three years.

“I was surprised and honored to receive the President’s award,” he said. “Getting to work closely with an exceptional volunteer and person like Rick Smith during his year as SCCAOR President has been its own reward.”


REALTORS® Gathering Signatures for Property Tax Fairness Initiative (Portability)

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) and the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) are embarking on a historic effort to support seniors, the disabled and victims of natural disasters, while at the same time unlocking homeownership opportunities across the state. C.A.R. is going to qualify an initiative for the November 6, 2018 General Election ballot which will allow senior homeowners (55+) to keep all or most of their Proposition 13 property tax savings when they move. Every REALTOR®, Affiliate, their clients, and families are urged to sign the petition.

Why does this matter?

Proposition 13 protects homeowners from rapidly increasing property taxes. However, seniors worry that they cannot afford a big property tax increase if they sell to downsize or move closer to their families. As a result of this “moving penalty,” nearly three-quarters of homeowners 55 and older haven’t moved since 2000. The same is true for the severely disabled and those whose homes are destroyed by natural disasters. The current property tax system is arbitrary, unfair and needs to be fixed.

What will the Property Tax Fairness Initiative do?

The measure, when approved by voters, will eliminate the “moving penalty” and fix property tax laws to allow seniors aged 55 and over, the disabled and victims of natural disasters to sell their homes, maintain their property tax protections and continue to pay their fair share in taxes. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, tens of thousands additional homeownership opportunities will occur annually.

current law protect homeowners?

The amount any homeowner pays in property taxes is based on the assessed value of their home at the time of purchase. Generally, Proposition 13 limits property taxes to 1 percent of the assessed value at the time of purchase even if the value of the property subsequently increases.

Unfortunately, homeowners lose their Proposition 13 property tax savings when they move to another home. Under another law, Proposition 60, senior homeowners – defined as 55 years of age or older – are allowed to transfer their property tax base to another home in the same county so long as the purchase price of the replacement home is equal to, or less than, the sale price of the original residence.

Existing laws related to this issue are arbitrary and geographically restrictive:

Under Proposition 60, a senior homeowner is limited to making only one such transfer over the course of his or her lifetime. And, if the spouse of a senior homeowner has already transferred a property tax base, that senior homeowner is disqualified from making another transfer of the tax base.

Proposition 90 is an extension of the original Proposition 60 program. Proposition 90 allows senior homeowners to transfer their property tax base to a home in a different county so long as that county accepts such transfers. (At last count, only 11 counties are accepting transfers from other counties.)

C.A.R.’s Property Tax Fairness Initiative eliminates the geographic restrictions and single-use provision to allow seniors, the disabled and victims of natural disasters to keep their property tax protections. They can move, while still paying their fair share in property taxes. Eliminating the “moving penalty” will unlock tens of thousands of homes for new homebuyers, helping to address California’s historic housing supply crisis.

Passing the Property Tax Fairness Initiative is a win-win for California.

How can I help?

Every California REALTOR® has been mailed a copy of the petition. The best way to help promote the initiative right now is to sign it, collect 4 additional signatures from other REALTORS® who are registered voters, and return the petition to the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®. More petitions are available at the SCCAOR office and REALTORS® are encouraged to gather signatures from their clients and while walking their farms.


You can learn more on C.A.R.’s website

New Code of Ethics Training Requirements

As of January 1, 2017, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is requiring that all members take it’s Code of Ethics Course every two years. This means that you must complete the training at some point between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018.

Fortunately, Code of Ethics training is also included in your CalBRE license renewal requirements. So if you plan to renew your license between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018, your Code of Ethics requirement is covered. If you are not renewing your license in that time period, you can take NAR’s free online Code of Ethics course to fulfill this requirement.

If you are unsure whether you have complied with NAR Code of Ethics requirements, please contact the SCCAOR Membership Team at 408-445-8500 or through our online chat. Failure to meet NAR Code of Ethics requirement will result in a suspension of member services.

Note: The next compliance cycle will start January 1, 2019 and end on December 31st 2020.